The Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday clarified that there was no proposal nor there was discussion on ‘’mask-free’’ Maharashtra. He also denied that the state cabinet at its meeting held on Thursday had held deliberations on it reiterating that use of masks is mandatory in Maharashtra.
‘’TV channels have been reporting that the government is planning to do away with the norm for mandatory use of masks. They also said the issue was discussed during the cabinet meeting. However, the government has no such plan and the issue was not discussed during the cabinet meeting. Such news items are a blatant lie,’’ said Pawar.
Pawar appealed to the press and media not to run the stories and create misunderstanding among the people.
The Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope also shared Pawar’s view saying that there is no discussion on mask-free Maharashtra. “We have never said mask-free Maharashtra. The threat of corona has not been completely averted. Therefore, the task force should provide guidance in this regard. People will get relief after the guidance of the task force on the continuation of present curbs. We have requested Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to inquire with the Indian Council of Medical Research about the decisions that have been taken in Denmark, Holland and other countries and whether the state government can make changes. At the moment there is no discussion on mask-free Maharashtra,’’ he noted.
Meanwhile, Pawar said schools in Pune will reopen from February 1, while colleges across the state will begin from the same day. He added that in the last two days, the positive cases have dipped in Pune district.
“In the second wave in April 2021, we had over a lakh positive cases. Today, we have around 90,000. In the second wave, we had 74 per cent cases in home isolation and during the ongoing third wave, we had 96 per cent patients in home isolation,” he said.